Pictured: Team USA’s Jay Aiello (97kg). Photo courtesy of USA Wrestling.
The men’s freestyle tournament started Friday at the U23 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. After a tough morning session on Friday (session nine), one that saw three of five Americans eliminated before the quarterfinals, things didn’t get much better later that afternoon during session 10.
In the semifinals, Virginia’s Jay Aiello was defeated 9-0 by Iran’s Amirali Azarpira. The Iranian got it done with three takedowns and three step-out points.
Still, Aiello earned the opportunity to wrestle for a U23 World bronze medal tomorrow afternoon during session 11. Aiello will face the winner of Vasil Pauliuchenka (Belarus) and Zuriko Urtashvili (Georgia).
Also, by virtue of Turkey’s 2019 U23 World bronze medalist Ramazan Sari earning a spot in the finals, USA’s Jake Marsh is brought back into the tournament tomorrow (Saturday) during repechage. Marsh will face Goga Mamiauri of Georgia. If Marsh wins, he will wrestle Armenia’s Arman Avagyan for a bronze medal.
During the medal matches, Kayla Marano, a 2015 Cadet bronze medalist, batted India’s Divya Kakran, a two-time Asian Championships gold medalist (2020, 2021), for a U23 World bronze medal at 72kg. Kakran won by fall early in the second period.
Tied at 2-2 heading into the break, Marano scored on a step-out and an activity point. Kakran scored her two via a takedown. Kakran added a second takedown, a four-point feet-to-back takedown, to take a 6-2 lead before securing the fall moments later. Marano finishes fifth.
As a team, the women’s freestyle squad finished in a tie for third in the team race with India (51 points). Ukraine won with 72 points and Russia was in second with 68 points. The effort was aided by Emily Shilson’s 50kg U23 World gold medal and Kylie Welker’s 76kg U23 World bronze medal.
Looking ahead to Saturday, the final five men’s freestyle weights take to the mats tomorrow. That includes: Chris Cannon (61 kg), Peyton Robb (74 kg), Myles Wilson (86 kg), Nino Bonaccorsi (92 kg), and Anthony Cassioppi (125 kg).
For full event brackets and match replays, watch on FloWrestling here.
OTHER 2021 U23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE
Session I Recap here
Session 2 Recap here
Session 3 Recap here
Session 4 Recap here
Session 5 Recap here
Session 6 Recap here
Session 7 Recap here
Session 8 Recap here
Session 8 Recap here
Session 9 Recap here